Facts About Methadone

Methadone is a synthetic opiate that is commonly used to relieve drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms during opiate detox. Administered under the close supervision of a physician, methadone is typically taken once a day, orally, in a dose that has proven effective for the individual patient.

Unlike other opiates, such as heroin, Oxycontin or Vicodin, which produce a cycle of intoxication followed by withdrawal that repeats every 4-8 hours, expert methadone maintenance treatment produces no "high" and greatly reduces or eliminates the pain of withdrawal. Although patients are dependent on methadone, the drug is released slowly and is longer lasting than other opiates, allowing the individual to function normally and continue to work, attend school and fulfill family obligations.

Side Effects of Methadone Treatment

Some methadone maintenance patients report drowsiness, constipation, lightheadedness or weakness. Occasionally, patients may experience a skin rash, headache, blurred vision, sweating or nausea. More severe side effects are rare.

Methadone Detox

The goal of methadone detox is to stabilize the patient and gradually decrease the amount of methadone taken each day. During methadone detox, patients may experience runny nose, sweating, fever, body aches, nausea and irritability. Patients work closely with their physician to monitor these sensations and keep withdrawal symptoms at a tolerable level.

Benefits of Methadone Treatment

Methadone has helped millions of people who are addicted to prescription drugs, heroin and other opiates enjoy a happy and productive life. Some of the benefits of methadone maintenance treatment include:

  • Methadone has been proven safe and effective by scientific studies conducted over the past 30 years.
  • Methadone treatment is an affordable alternative to long-term drug rehab.
  • A less painful withdrawal and fewer drug cravings often translate into greater motivation and ability to stay clean and sober.
  • The best methadone clinics provide medication as well as counseling, 12-Step education and relapse prevention planning.
  • Without the highs and lows of opiate addiction, methadone maintenance patients are able to enjoy stable lives, continuing to work, attend school and spend time with their families.
  • Individuals in methadone treatment are at less risk of criminal activity, overdose and infectious disease.
  • The drug has been proven safe for short-term methadone detox or long-term methadone maintenance treatment.